Autistic artists show off talents, skills at San Diego exhibit

Autism Society San Diego and Mainly Mozart recently held its annual "Lights! Camera! Autism! Back in the Spotlight!" at the University of California, San Diego, Park & Market on April 30. 

The event featured exhibits from two dozen artists who have autism. The event also featured musical performances from pianist/vocalist Bruce Kopstein of "Autism's Got Talent's 2021" of the Autism Society of San Diego

One artist was Joel Anderson. 

"I been doing art for such a long time," Anderson told FOX 5 San Diego. "I started drawing when I was five and painting since I was 11."

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"When I look at art and books and history and video and everything that I see," he continued, talking about where he draws his inspiration. 

"It really showcases a variety of talents across the autism spectrum. We have visual artists. We have film artists. We even have caterers here that are on the autism spectrum. So really trying to showcase everyone’s talents," Dustin Tracey of Autism Society San Diego said. 

In 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that approximately 1 in 44 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. 

U.S. autism numbers have been on the rise for several years, but experts believe that reflects more awareness and wider availability of services to treat the condition rather than a true increase in the number of affected children.

"There is some progress being made and the earlier kids get identified, the earlier they can access services that they might need to improve their developmental outcome," said CDC researcher and co-author Kelly Shaw.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.